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A. Rudzienski

Titoist Leaflets Forced Kremlin Hand
in Spurring Polish Purge Campaign

(5 December 1949)

From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 49, 5 December 1949, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A relatively unimportant incident – the distribution of some pro-Titoist leaflets in Poland – was the warning signal that caused the Kremlin immediately to order the purging of the Polish government and party, reinforcing still further its control over the country.

Until now the purge has gone through three stages: (1) the arrest of various ministers, “fellow-travelers,” suspected of pro-Tito sympathies; (2) the designation of Marshal Rokossovsky as “viceroy” of Poland, the modern edition of the Grand Duke Constantine Romanov; (3) the arrest of the faction headed by Gomulka, former vice-premier of the Warsaw regime, as well as of General Marian Spychalski, former mayor of Warsaw, and Zenon Kliszko, who was, if I am not mistaken, former president of the national congress.

The arrest of these latter high officials on the ground of Polish Titoism takes on added importance inasmuch as Gomulka and his friends had renounced their opinions and had promised to submit completely to the new course of Stalinist policy in Poland. Spychalski and Kliszko had the bad luck of voting with Gomulka in the sessions of the Central Committee of’ the Stalinist party when Gomulka was still one of the top men in the government. Other dignitaries committed that same crime and now await their turn to be condemned.

Polish Time Bomb

The Yugoslav leaflets distributed in Poland and the other activities of Tito’s diplomat, Petrovich, have frightened Moscow a great deal. What would happen if the Warsaw government were to turn toward Tito and against the Kremlin? This would undoubtedly signify a mortal danger for the whole Stalinist empire in Europe and finally for the regime in Russia itself.

Poland is relatively near the cen- ers of Stalinist power. It disposes of a greater industrial potential since the incorporation of all Silesia. It is situated on the line of communication with Germany and Czechoslovakia as well. Polish resistance is rooted in a great historical tradition and enjoys considerable prestige among all the Slav nations. And there is an enormous potential of revolutionary energy accumulated in Poland against Russia, which can explode like a time bomb and easily give a similar impulse to the other satellite countries.

The Kremlin is well aware that the outbreak of a Polish rebellion would have a decisive character for all the countries of Eastern Europe subjugated by Russia. For this reason, it prefers to take preventive measures and cool the soup before burning the tongue, as in Yugoslavia.

While awaiting new developments, we can hazard the opinion that the capitalist press, and in particular the American press, exaggerates somewhat the importance of these events. The wish is father to the thought in this instance, since the American bourgeoisie ardently hopes the satellite peoples, handed over to Stalin by Roosevelt, will rebel against Moscow and save the American government the bother and expense of a troublesome job.

But “Titoism” in Poland has not acquired the importance it has in Yugoslavia, not only because of geographic reasons – that is, because of Poland’s unhappy proximity to Russia – but mainly because of the betrayals perpetrated by the Anglo- Americans at the time of the Warsaw insurrection, and the consequent destruction of the Polish underground in the struggle on two fronts.

Prospects for Rebellion

The political and social revolution has subsided in Poland as it did after the national revolution of 1863–64 – with this difference, that the role of the bourgeoisie of that period has been taken by the political and technical bureaucracy. This bureaucracy, representing a wide stratum, relatively well-paid and corrupted at the expense of the proletariat, has repudiated the idea of armed resistance against Russia as an unrealizable dream, and exploits the theme of the Anglo-American betrayal of Poland.

The remnants of the Polish bourgeoisie has drifted into the ranks of the bureaucracy and follows the same policy. Only the proletariat, which carries the whole weight of the Stalinist dictatorship, could carry out the rebellion; but the proletariat is completely subjugated by the enormous party, trade-union and police apparatus, and besides, its political leadership has been beheaded. The weak resistance of the Gomulka faction indicates precisely this political decapitation in its final stage.

As.for the peasantry, it would turn against the regime in case of a forced collectivization. But Stalin is a good strategist and knows when to attack. At the moment, the war against the peasantry has not been declared. In general terms, the Yugoslav situation will not be repeated in Poland at the present time. In the long run, to be sure, there exists a potential danger of a rebellion against Russia, but this would depend on many other factors.

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